RAIL chaos over the peak holiday season has prompted Cumbria's tourism chiefs and train firm Northern to launch a £285,000 marketing campaign.

The campaign aims to restore confidence following the recent, highly-publicised issues with train services into the county.

Due to launch later in the autumn, it has been funded by Northern, and will be co-ordinated by Cumbria Tourism.

Cumbria Tourism’s calls for a campaign have been supported by partners including Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, MPs Tim Farron, John Woodcock and Trudy Harrison, South Lakeland District Council, Transport for the North and Community Rail Partnerships within the county.

It will not only focus on attracting people back onto the Lakes Line but will also encourage people to make better use of links to the Furness Line, the Cumbrian Coastal Line and mainline train services at Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme.

Highlighting the wider network of buses and scheduled boat services will be additional key messages, Cumbria Tourism said.

The campaign is due to begin later this autumn, subject to full resumption of services.

It will include advertising at key regional railway stations, Manchester Airport and the London Underground, as well as video on demand on ITV Hub and Sky.

Cumbria Tourism will also manage digital marketing through social media, alongside a PR campaign targeting national journalists and influencers.

Cumbria Tourism’s head of marketing and sales, Rachel Tyson, said: “It’s been a challenging period for travellers but as we head towards the traditionally quieter part of the tourism season, we want to inspire people to visit and encourage them to leave the car at home and incorporate leisurely experiences by rail, bus and boat into breaks away in our special part of the world.”

Craig Harrop, regional director of Northern, added: "Following the disruption to rail services earlier in 2018, Northern is working closely with Cumbria Tourism on this campaign to attract as many visitors as possible to the region.

"We are now running a full timetable across Cumbria and both reliability and punctuality has significantly improved in recent weeks.

"As we head into the autumn, visitors and residents of Cumbria will feel they can once again rely on their train services and we look forward to welcoming them on board.”

Mr Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: "Local businesses took a massive hit over the summer due to the chaos on the railways.

"So the news that Northern has agreed to fund a marketing campaign is to be massively welcomed and will help us send out a loud and clear message that Cumbria is open for business.

"It was great to work with Cumbria Tourism’s managing director Gill Haigh over the past few months to secure this money - thank you to everyone at Cumbria Tourism, as well as politicians from across the county who helped us make the case.”